Facial Fractures Speak Volumes About Domestic Abuse

This article is from Ivanhoe.com

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — New research shows women suffering from domestic abuse have patterns of facial injury that are distinguishably different than other facial injuries. This information could help doctors identify women suffering from domestic abuse and encourage them to get help.

An estimated 25 to 33 percent of women in the United States suffer from intimate partner violence — abuse by a spouse or significant other. Most victims seek medical attention for their injuries — between 88 percent and 94 percent — but not all are ready to admit the abuse or reach out for help. But doctors have found facial injuries caused by domestic abuse look different than facial trauma from other causes.

Victims who suffered assault had higher rates of mandible (jaw) fractures, zygomatic complex fractures (complicated breaks in the cheekbones), orbital blow-out fractures (cracks or breaks in bones surrounding the eye) and intracranial (brain) injury, compared to other facial injury patients.

“Specifically, higher than expected numbers of zygomatic complex fractures, orbital blow-out fractures and intracranial injuries were found in intimate partner violence victims,” the authors write. “Victims assaulted by unknown or unidentified assailants were more likely to have mandible fractures than were other assault victims.”

SOURCE: Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, 2009;11:48-52

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